Material Transfer Procedure

Material Transfer Agreement Guidelines

A material transfer agreement (MTA) is a contract under which one party (the provider) makes a tangible product, material, or resource available to another party (the recipient) for use in a research project. An MTA is incoming if UWM is receiving the material and outgoing if UWM is sending the material off campus.

MTAs for Incoming Materials

In the U.S., most educational institutions and many non-profits use the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement (UBMTA), which was developed to facilitate the exchange of research material for non-commercial purposes. Governmental agencies usually provide materials under similar terms.

Private, for-profit entities almost always present recipients with an MTA of their own design. If the material is highly valued, the provider may seek to impose a number of onerous provisions on the recipient, including:

  • All recipient inventions resulting from the use of the material belong to the provider.
  • Publications reporting the use of the material must be approved by the provider or can be delayed for more than 90 days.
  • The recipient must indemnify the provider and/or submit to the jurisdiction of an out-of-state court.
Below is an outline for the incoming MTA process at UWM:
Provider Type Recommended Action for Principal Investigators
Domestic Educational/ Non-profit
  • Suggest using a Simple Letter Agreement (terms are consistent with the UBMTA) or use provider’s form.
  • Complete and sign MTA.
  • Forward MTA through WISPER to the UWM Office of Sponsored Programs (OSP).
  • Include the provider’s complete contact information.
Foreign Educational/ Non-profit
Domestic Government Agency
  • Provider will likely have its own form using terms consistent with UBMTA.
  • Complete, sign, and submit the MTA to OSP via WISPER.
Foreign Government Agency
  • Provider will have its own form.
  • Complete, sign, and submit the MTA to OSP via WISPER.
Domestic or Foreign For-profit
  • Provider will typically have its own form.
  • Complete, sign, and submit to OSP via WISPER.

MTAs for Outgoing Materials

UWM faculty members can transfer materials to educational or non-profit organizations under the terms of the Uniform Biological Material Transfer Agreement, unless the material is owned by the UWM Research Foundation, in which case the request begins there for processing.

Below is the process for the outgoing MTA process at UWM:
Provider Type Recommended Action for Principal Investigators
Domestic or Foreign Educational/Non-profit/ Government
  • If material has been assigned to the UWM Research Foundation, refer request Brian Thompson, UWMRF president.
  • If you have authority to transfer the material and the recipient is signatory to UBMTA, use the UBMTA Implementing Letter; otherwise use the Simple Letter Agreement.
  • Complete and sign the MTA (include the recipient’s complete contact information).
  • Submit to OSP via WISPER.
For-profit
  • Refer the request to OSP via WISPER for evaluation.